'Falling Iguana' Warning Issued in South Florida as Forecast Shows Temperatures in the 30s
Iguanas, who are cold-blooded, go dormant if temperatures descend below 45 degrees
A "falling iguana" warning has been issued in South Florida as the area prepares to face cool temperatures around Christmas.
On Monday, the National Weather Service in Miami said on Twitter that temperatures are expected to hit the 30- to 40-degree range on Christmas Day and into the weekend, creating dangerous conditions for iguanas in the Sunshine State.
"Dec 21 - Brrr! Much colder temps expected for Christmas. Low temperatures in the 30s/40s and falling Iguanas are possible. Keep up with forecast changes and stay warm! #flwx," the NWS - Miami tweeted.
According to CNN, iguanas are cold-blooded, meaning their bodies will go dormant if living in an environment with a temperature less than 45 degrees.
When iguanas fall during cool temperatures, they appear to be dead — but aren't. In actuality, they are still breathing and can operate critical body functions.
Falling iguanas can also be a danger to passersby, given the adult male lizard species can reach 5 feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds, CNN reported.
"The temperature threshold for when iguanas begin to go into a dormant state depends greatly on the size of the iguana," Ron Magill, communications director for Zoo Miami told CNN earlier this year. "Generally speaking, the larger the iguana, the more cold it can tolerate for longer periods."
The Sunshine State issued a "falling iguanas" warning back in January when temperatures dropped 10 to 15 degrees below the norm for that time of year.
“This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr!” the NWS — Miami tweeted at the time.
The NWS later confirmed that their forecast was correct, retweeting a photo of a fallen iguana shared by National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake.